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Tool & Die Shop Improvement

Level 1 of 4: Batch Processing

Level 1: Batch & Queue Manufacturing
Running multiple pieces of a job through the first operation and then moving those items forward to the next operation before they are all actually needed there. Thus items need to wait in a queue. This method is commonly used for making small quantities of parts. Also called "Batch-and-Push." Contrast with continuous flow and other technology levels below.
The video illustrates the capabilities of visual technologies applied to solving the problems associated with representing a model of proposed process improvements. The video uses animation technology of a real-world example of a die shop processing ten unique, but similar progressive die cutting steels. Other visual technologies include simulation, which is planned for the Batch & Queue Video in the future, and virtual reality, which will be used to train operators on ergonomic issues. The operators may be human or robotic.

Level 2: Continuous Flow Production
In its purest form continuous flow means that items are processed and moved directly to the next process one piece at a time. Each processing step completes its work just before the next process needs the item, and the transfer batch is one. Also known as "one-piece flow" and "make one, move one".

Level 3: Cellular Manufacturing
An arrangement of people, machines, materials and methods such that processing steps are adjacent and in sequential order so that parts can be processed one at a time (or in some cases in a constant small batch that is maintained through the process sequence). The purpose of a cell is to achieve and maintain efficient continuous flow and eliminating substantially all of the transport distance and time.

Level 4: High-Speed, Horizontal Spindle CNC Machines with Pallet Changers
This highest manufacturing tech level requires very accurate, costly CNC machines capable of holding tolerances of a few microns with high RPM spindles and include pallet changers for all but eliminating internal setup time for maximum chip-making time. The key to achieving the highest ROI is to keep the machine as busy as possible.

View the Free Tool & Die Shop Improvement Video
For more information, send email to gary@gathen.net

Applying NUMMI's concepts to tool and die making

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